The Human Library “lends” people and their stories by promoting diversity

The Human Library is an international non-profit organization founded in the spring of 2000. It helps organize events in which people are books and readers can ask questions and interact with them for half an hour at a time. The goal is open communication and the fight against prejudice.

The Human Library – Menneskebiblioteket in Danish – was created in Copenhagen by Ronni Abergel and his brother Dany and colleagues Asma Mouna and Christoffer Erichsen. It tells the story of people who break out of the ordinary: They may belong to a minority, they may have a different nationality, they may be people with a genetic or psychological disorder, they may be sexually oriented and so on.

According to the Human Library website, the event, which was held for the first time, was open 8 hours a day for 4 consecutive days and contained more than 50 different titles. “The wide selection of books has given readers plenty of options to challenge their stereotypes and so more than 1,000 readers have benefited by leaving books, librarians, organizers and readers overwhelmed by the reception and impact of the Human Library.”

The website explains in the best way the meaning and purpose of the Human Library. “We organize events where readers can borrow people who serve as open books and have discussions that they would not normally have access to,” he said, adding that “every human book on our shelf represents a group in our society that is often biased.” stigma or discrimination based on lifestyle, diagnosis, beliefs, disability, social status, national origin, etc. “

The history of the Human Library begins as a program in 2000 at a local music festival. As described in an essay by Lene Rimestad, “participants were asked to borrow a person as an open book. More than 50 different people were “extradited”, including a Muslim, a journalist, fans of rival football clubs Brondby and FC Copenhagen, a police officer, a parking attendant and Bente, a woman from Freetown Christiana) who were then considered “bad”. neighborhood) in Copenhagen “.

Founder Ronni Abergel says: “All people judge and that is why we are not here to change your mind or to tell you not to judge. We are here to provide you with information in a secure environment. So that you can make your own decisions, but we hope they are better informed “. Abergel goes on to say: “It should not be so difficult for you to decide: Not on the basis of a quick judgment, but on the basis of careful consideration and meeting someone who knows about it. It gives you the opportunity not to judge someone. “

Although the Human Library can be housed anywhere, it has opened its first permanent bookstore in Copenhagen. The building and the surrounding reading garden allow books, librarians and readers to meet and discuss in a safe place. As for the reading garden, it is open to guests on selected weekdays and weekends. The article states that it serves “as a permanent place to have a discussion about diversity”.

As in many other institutions, the global coronavirus pandemic has had its effects here as well. He is currently conducting Facebook Live readings and virtual events. Instead of one-on-one conversations with a book, readers in larger groups can now connect online.

A similar idea is being implemented by the Living Library, a Council of Europe initiative launched in 2003 inspired by the same music festival in Denmark. The Council of Europe website describes the project as “a tool that seeks to challenge prejudice and discrimination. It works just like a regular library: visitors can browse the list of available titles, select the book they want to read, and borrow it for a limited time. After reading, they return the book to the library and, if they wish, borrow another one. The only difference is that in the Living Library, books are people and reading is a discussion. “

“There is – today more than ever in the recent past – the need to make the general public aware of the importance of human rights to the fabric of our democracies and the responsibility of every citizen to implement abstract human rights in their day-to-day interactions.” continues the Council of Europe.


Source: Εναλλακτική Δράση by

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